Jeff McNeil day to day with tight hamstring but confident he can avoid IL

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HOUSTON – Jeff McNeil believes he caught his hamstring tightness early and can likely avoid the injured list.

McNeil left Monday’s game after dashing home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning of the Mets’ 6-0 victory over the Marlins.

”I was running home there yesterday and right when I was running home it started to tighten up on me,” McNeil said on Tuesday in the visitors’ dugout at Minute Maid Park. “So going through what I’ve been through before, best to come out of the game.”

McNeil, who was not in the lineup for the series opener against the Astros, underwent an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York immediately after leaving Monday’s game. He returned to Citi Field and climbed aboard the bus to join the Mets on their flight to H-Town on Monday evening.

Mets trainers told McNeil “everything looked great” in his MRI, according to the second baseman. He said his early exit was precautionary and that he’s day to day.

Buck Showalter did not reveal whether McNeil would be available off the bench in the Astros series. Luis Guillorme was the starting second baseman on Tuesday. Infielder Gosuke Katoh joined the Mets on their five-game, six-day trip as part of their taxi squad.

”Obviously Luis has been outstanding for us,” Showalter said. “But yeah, it does cut into our depth off the bench as we go forward. Even day games after night games and things we wanna do. Give somebody a two-day blow. It cramps that a little bit. But, initially, it’s a pretty fluid move for us. I didn’t have to say anything to Luis yesterday, hardly. He knew what was going on. I think the guys understand that.”

McNeil missed time due to a left hamstring strain last season, but he said his current tightness is on the “strong” right hamstring, so he’s not concerned that it will become a long-term issue. Even so, expect the Mets to be extra cautious with McNeil and his legs as the season progresses.

The sparkplug and All-Star candidate is slashing .327/.386/.465 with 33 RBI, four home runs, 17 doubles, 19 walks, two stolen bases, a triple and 33 runs scored across 65 games this season.

”I’ve played a lot this year,” McNeil said. “Definitely gone through some of this stuff in the past. I know my body very well, too, so I knew it’s something that I needed to come out of the game for – just be real safe, let’s not make it worse than it is. I’ve done that before. But I know my body. I know how to play through these types of things, too. Shouldn’t be a problem.”